Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

This injury occurs when there is a fracture at the neck or top of the thigh bone. The injury happens to the epiphysis which is where the bone grows as children grow older. It is more common in boys aged 11 to 16 years old and occurs gradually over a period of time. Hip pain and groin pain are major symptoms which can cause the injured person to walk with a limp.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a slipped capital femoral epiphysis include pain in the hip and groin which can radiate into the knee. The patient may walk with a limp. When examined they may find one leg is shorter than the other and rotated outwards slightly. Moving the leg out to the side known as abduction and rotating the hip outwards is often limited compared to the uninjured side.

The epiphysis is the area of the bone that does the growing in children and adolescents. This area is sometimes called the growth plates. It is often brought on by sports activity.

This is an uncommon condition which typically affects boys aged eleven to sixteen years old. It is more common in those who are considered overweight and may sometimes be present in both hips.

A slipped capital femoral epiphysis can cause problems with a decrease in blood flow to the head of the Femur, resulting in avascular necrosis (bone death) and so should be addressed as soon as possible.

Treatment of a slipped capital femoral epiphysis

  • Due to the potential for death of the femoral head, medical attention should be sought as early as possible.
  • If this injury is suspected X-rays should be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
  • If positive, orthopedic assessment is required and surgery may be performed.
  • Surgery involves fixing the head of the femur with pins or a screw.
  • After a period of immobilisation, a full rehabilitation programme is required to return to full weight bearing and then to regain full strength and movement in the hip.

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